Monte Carlo’s favorable Mediterranean climate seems to have taken leave for this weekend’s Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, with some rain affecting the practice sessions on Thursday and today and the current forecast for Sunday’s race showing more rain. The temperature is expected to reach a peak 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) and humidity levels should be around 50 percent.

As the one circuit on the calendar where lots of laps are a feature of every driver’s pre-race program, the rain hasn’t helped preparation for most teams. The good news is that the fears expressed in the media that the lack of grip from the 2014 cars compared to their predecessors would see a high number of cars crashing into the unforgiving barriers proved to be unfounded.

Speaking of grip, sole tire supplier Pirelli has brought its P Zero Red supersoft tires, the first time they’re being used this season. Also available are the soft tires that have already been seen in three of the five races already run this season. With the 2.08-mile street circuit having the lowest average lap speed of the year, as well as the slowest corners of the season, the cars rely almost entirely on mechanical rather than aerodynamic grip—which is generated only by the tires.

Interestingly, we could finally see Mercedes AMG’s dominance ended this race. Though the conditions weren’t great, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the quickest during Thursday’s practice session, just managing to edge out Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel was also among the quickest on the day.

As always in Monaco, qualifying will be critical, so tomorrow should be interesting. Going into the session and Sunday’s eventual race, Lewis Hamilton leads the Drivers’ Championship with 100 points versus the 97 of his teammate Nico Rosberg and the 49 of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG leads with 197 points followed by Red Bull Racing on 84 and Ferrari on 66.


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